Learning in the Age of Disruption: Technology & InnovationDisruption may sound like a negative word when used in the context of ‘change’. However, for some time now, it has been a term that has been widely used to describe unprecedented change, or incredible transformation of industries, technology, social interactions etc. Uber, Alibaba and Airbnb are often cited as the pioneers of this. This revolution has now crept into the realms of Learning and Development too, greatly affecting the way learning is accessed and delivered.

As a part of its study on how established organizations need to adapt to the new changes of today, Cegos, a worldwide leader in training and development and our partner for Off-The-Shelf eLearning, recently surveyed business, HR and learning leaders, as well as middle management professionals, across the APAC region. Based on the findings, it published a whitepaper, titled Leading and Managing in the Age of Disruption. The whitepaper is a concise guidebook to understanding how training assists the leaders and managers to take on the disruptions within the industry, and even create the disruption themselves in four key areas. In this blog post, we focus on the first area – Technology & Innovation.

Technology & Innovation

Learning or training innovatively has always been considered as the first step to counter change. Our focus in this post lies on the advances in technology, how it disrupts the way businesses work, and the importance of innovation and advanced use of learning technology to get the best results in a competitive environment.

Technology is often considered as the soul of modern business. Cegos asked the respondents to assess the role of technology in their companies, and how managers utilize it to best effect. The results were shocking at first look. “28% of the 1,042 surveyed, feel that managers know very little and are unwilling to learn. 44% think their managers would benefit from more robust technology training.” Further to this, “77% of respondents do not have confidence in their managers’ knowledge of customer-oriented technology.” But, as mentioned in the whitepaper, “in a world driven by technology, organizations must take immediate steps to improve IT knowledge and skills amongst executives.”

While unwillingness to learn has often been considered a major challenge to leadership training, the key often lies in creating awareness, providing a proper introduction about the learning strategy and defining the purpose behind it clearly.

Here are some tips, shared by Cegos, as defined by the leaders themselves for incorporating technology into businesses and using tech-enabled learning to its best.

1. Create a supportive learning environment, enabled by the most appropriate technology, that involves everyone across the organization.

From the L&D perspective, this means, Learning 3.0 made possible through the Social and Collaborative Learning tools of Learning Management Systems (LMSs). Learning is no longer one-on-one; it is group effort. A robust LMS system unifies the whole organization into a large collaborative learning space, opening up the possibility of learning from peers through knowledge sharing, community learning etc.

2. Frequently scan the technology environment in relation to your industry, discipline or role.

Social Media integrated with LMSs allows learners to do this seamlessly. Good LMS platforms stay up-to-date with latest technology, making the addition of new courses easy and allowing the learners to continue the process of learning beyond the traditional/ formal training formats.

3. Use technology to automate standard processes and tasks, as well as identify pressure points and reduce risk.

One of the most advertised features of an LMS is its ability to track and measure the impact of training programs. And rightly so. MIS & Reporting can be used to create a virtual map of the learner’s activities, to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of various courses using customizable reports and dashboards. This data can also help in identifying the core business and training issues, and assist in taking intelligent business decisions to constantly stay ahead of the game.

While APIs and Integration enable seamless integration with other enterprise applications. This feature of LMSs assists in easy data exchange between LMSs and other systems, in automating certain tasks, in streamlining business processes and increasing performance.

4. Empower employees by inviting them to generate ideas on how to use new technology.

Learning is no longer a trainer/instructor driven process and is often driven by the learners themselves. LMSs these days allow the addition of UGC or User Generated Content, that can be anything from images, to videos or discussion threads contributed by the learners for the learners. This kind of content does have a strong impact on the overall engagement and effectiveness and caters greatly to the tech-savvy, creative workforce of today.

5. Set up a competition to source technology that meets the hottest needs in your business.

All the above-mentioned points scream LMS! Recently many organizations have been integrating LMSs with Virtual and Remote Laboratories (VRLs) to include communication channels that allow user-to-user interaction in web courses. LMSs are the best portals for low cost collaborative labs. LMSs also offer various other features like Announcements, Journals, Blogs and Wikis, Discussion boards, Communities, Emails etc. that support communication and collaboration within the organization’s learning community.

6. Use technology to keep employees engaged and in touch.

LMSs with game mechanics like levels, badges, leader boards etc. are used to keeps the learners engaged. In addition to this, the virtues of Facebook, Twitter etc. in LMSs can create an environment that caters to the mobile, social media and game enthusiasts within the organization and thus bring about employee/learner engagement.

7. Encourage employees to use their own devices, if appropriate, as they are comfortable using them.

LMSs today deliver the true freedom of learning through intuitive Responsive Interface, allowing the learners to learn anywhere, anytime on any device.

LMSs truly are powerful tools with a wide range of features. The trick is to understand, modify and utilize it for garnering the best results. As Travis Hessman says, “We’re not stumbling around in the dark trying to catch up with the big money innovators. We have sensors. We just need to know where to put them.

In one way or the other Tech-enabled learning disrupted the learning industry a long time before the era of Smart Manufacturing or Industry 4.0, or the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It was a revolution triggered by technology and innovation. In today’s age of disruption, learning technology (LMSs with innovative features) should be employed by organizations to enable internal communication, engagement and collaboration, and to deliver leadership training for better competitive advantage.

Leading and Managing in the Age of Disruption is available for a free download here.

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